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Why the Impossible Whopper is a racial justice issue

Sending such horrible messages to adults is bad enough, but the fast food industry also targets children of color with their ad campaigns. The Rudd Center at the University of Connecticut found that while junk food and fast food advertising declined 4% overall from 2013 to 2015, the amount of money spent targeting African American youth increased by 50%. As a result, African American children saw 86% more food ads than white children during this period. Many of these companies also invested in S

Why African Americans Should Care About International Law

Most Americans know very little about international law.  In fact, according to numerous polls, most Americans believe that foreign affairs should take a backseat to domestic concerns.  However, African Americans can ill afford to ignore international law and human rights.  Many areas of international law address the issues that African Americans face each day.  Both Human Rights Day and Universal Human Rights Month are celebrated in December.  To honor these celebrations, this post explores

Midterm Elections 2018: Why African Americans Need to Vote

On Tuesday, November 6, 2018, Americans will vote in one of the most significant elections of this generation.  But if past elections are any indication, many Americans will stay at home.  While voter turnout is America is generally lower than most other nations, turnout is even lower in years without a presidential election.  In 2014, less than forty percent of eligible voters cast a ballot.  African Americans are more likely to opt out.  While 22 percent of Blacks voted in 2014, nearly twice t

Stop and Frisk Law: What African Americans Need to Know

Earlier this week, Donald Trump addressed the International Association of Chiefs of Police.  While referencing Chicago, Trump stated, “The crime spree has a terrible blight on that city, and we will do everything possible to get it done.”  For Trump, the way to get it done is stopping and frisking Chicago residents.  About stop and frisk, Trump stated, “It works and it was meant for problems like Chicago. It was meant for it. Stop and frisk.” While this is not the first time Trump has champion

The Thirteenth Amendment: A Brief Overview

On Sunday, rapper, producer, and amateur fashion designer Kanye West made headlines yet again.  While West is no stranger to controversy, his latest comments seemed to set a new standard for himself. Over the weekend, West tweeted a picture of himself in a red “Make America Great Again” hat.  The photo’s caption read: “this represents good and America becoming whole again.  We will no longer outsource to other countries. We build factories here in America and create jobs.  We will provide jo

The Bill Cosby Sentencing: Questions and Answers

Earlier this year, comedian and actor Bill Cosby was found guilty of raping Andrea Constand in 2004.  This week, a Pennsylvania judge sentenced 81-year-old Cosby to three to ten years in jail for his crime.  Cosby’s attorneys, citing his age and poor physical health, requested that Cosby be sentenced to house arrest.  However, the judge determined that Cosby should serve his sentence in a traditional jail.  Under Pennsylvania law, the former television star will have to serve three years of his

Dying without a Will: Hazardous to Your Wealth

Earlier this month, singing legend Aretha Franklin passed away.   She left behind her partner, children, grandchildren, friends, and a legion of fans.  However, she did not leave a will.  Though the Queen of Soul had a voice like no one else, dying without a will (also known as dying intestate) places her in a common situation.  According to recent reports, only 42 percent of Americans have wills.  Among African Americans, the number drops to 32 percent.  This post will explain the difficulties

Judge Kavanaugh's Record: What African Americans Need to Know

Last month, Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement created an unexpected vacancy on the Supreme Court. This week, Trump announced his choice to replace him: Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh, 53, has served as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit since 2006. Though Judge Kavanaugh hasn’t served for long, his opinions, public writings, and speeches provide insight into how he might rule on the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, his record on civil rights includes s

Supreme Court Decisions on Civil Rights in the 2017-18 Term

The Supreme Court of the United States hears approximately 80 cases each term.   While each of the cases is legally significant, some cases have a wider cultural impact.  This year, the Court decided several cases that will impact the civil rights of African Americans and other people of color.  Below is a summary of Supreme Court decisions on civil rights from the Court’s 2017-2018 term. Summary: Voting rights dominated the Supreme Court’s civil rights docket this term.  One of the most signif

What Justice Kennedy’s Retirement Means for African Americans

Today, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy announced that he will retire from the Supreme Court next month.  Justice Kennedy, age 81, has served on the Court for 30 years.  So, experts have predicted his retirement for years.  Yet, because justices serve for a lifetime (and some have served well into their eighties), the retirement still comes as a surprise.  Here is a quick summary of how Justice Kennedy’s retirement will affect African Americans and other people of color. Justice Kennedy was born in C

What You Need to Know about the Supreme Court’s Voting Rights Decision

Yesterday, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a ruling in Husted v. A. Phillip Randolph Institute.  The case challenged an Ohio law that allows the state to remove (or “purge”) persons who fail to vote from its registered voter list.  In yesterday’s ruling, the Court ruled that the Ohio law did not violate any federal voting laws.   This new ruling could have a swift and severe impact on voting rights for African Americans and other people of color. The present case began when Larry

Do the NFL’s Anthem Protest Rules Violate the First Amendment?

Last season, African American players in the National Football League (NFL) protested police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem.  Last week, the NFL adopted a new rule that requires all players on the field to stand for the national anthem.  Players will have the option to remain in the locker room.  However, if a player on the field refuses to stand for the anthem, his team will be fined. This new policy causes us to consider whether the NFL’s anthem protest rules violate the Firs

Affirmative Action: A Quick Overview

In 2014, lawyers filed suit to challenge affirmative action.  Specifically, the lawsuit questioned admissions policies at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.  Recently, the suit has been making headlines again. Last month, four former clerks to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas joined the plaintiffs’ team.  At the same time, the Trump Administration threw its support behind the plaintiffs.   This post will examine some of the basics of affirmative action. Th

The Bill Cosby Verdict: Questions and Answers for the Black Community

On Thursday, Bill Cosby, the once-beloved comedian, actor, philanthropist, and Jell-O spokesman, was convicted of three counts of aggravated indecent assault in Pennsylvania.  Mr. Cosby’s conviction has spurred a wide range of reactions.  Though the trial is over, for some, questions remain.  This post will answer some of the lingering questions. Q: Can you explain the verdict? A: Bill Cosby was convicted of three counts of second degree aggravated indecent assault against the complaining witn

50 Years After the Fair Housing Act: What African Americans Need to Know

April is Fair Housing Month.  Moreover, this April marks the fiftieth anniversary  of the Fair Housing Act of 1968.   So, this month provides a perfect opportunity to discuss housing discrimination.   This entry will explore the history that led to the Fair Housing Act and explain why the Fair Housing Act still matters. Housing discrimination is not new.  In 1862, the Homestead Act offered public land to those who agreed to maintain it.  The program was open to Americans of all races.  Howev

Betsy DeVos Wants to Gut Department That Investigates Civil Rights Violations In Schools

As the federal agency responsible for overseeing education from kindergarten through college, the policies adopted by the United States Department of Education have a major impact on the lives of American students. But in the Trump era, that impact could be a negative one. Budget cuts and personnel changes in the department could leave Black students at a disadvantage in the race to succeed academically. In America, state and local laws govern most education policy issues. Thus, matters such as

Betsy DeVos' Rollback of Campus Sexual Assault Rules Puts Black Women at Risk

Each year at this time, college students return to campus, ready for new experiences. While most students’ experiences will include lectures and football games, a few unfortunate students will experience something else: sexual assault. Unwanted sexual contact is rampant on America’s campuses. To grasp the magnitude of the problem, consider this: twenty-five percent of college women have been sexually assaulted or unwanted sexual contact on campus.  Thus, at any given college, for every four fem

Policing for Profit: How Civil Forfeiture Is Making a Comeback Under Trump

In July, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Department of Justice would reinstate its civil forfeiture policy. Civil forfeiture allows law enforcement officers to seize the property of those suspected of crimes. This seizure can occur even if there is no conviction or arrest. Moreover, in some jurisdictions, law enforcement departments get to keep what they find in these situations, providing a perverse profit motive for seizing property. Sessions’ decision was controversial, as